How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel: A Complete Guide

how to prevent carpal tunnel

Anyone who works with their hands, whether in an office or on a production floor, has probably felt those shocks of pain shoot through their wrists. These pains are no fun, and more than likely they are caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.If you have ever wondered how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, read this article to get a comprehensive look at the problem and find surefire ways to help prevent and ease this pain.

What Is Carpal Tunnel?

Before we talk about how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, we first need to know what it is. The carpal tunnel is actually a narrow path in our wrists made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons. There is a nerve, called the median nerve, that passes through this tunnel. Any swelling in these ligaments or tendons will cause the carpal tunnel to shrink and compress the median nerve. 

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) usually happens gradually, as continual repetitive use of the wrists will cause damage and swelling. The symptoms associated with CTS are numbness or tingling in the hand, and sometimes it feels like an electric shock between the thumb and fingers (mostly the index and middle finger). Sufferers can also feel an unusual and tingly pain moving from their wrists up their arm towards the elbow. In most cases, this sensation is on the thumb side of their arm.

Who Is At Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The risk for carpal tunnel syndrome is far reaching. If you were born with a smaller carpal tunnel, then you are more likely to have issues. Females suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome more than males. As we age our chances of contracting carpal tunnel syndrome increase because of the wear and tear we’ve put on our bodies over the years.

Also, some health conditions can make you more susceptible. Rheumatoid arthritis and hypothyroidism makes you more likely to have symptoms. Most all of us use our wrists heavily throughout the day, but those who work specifically with their hands like heavy laborers, musicians, or office workers see the syndrome more often than other types of workers.

Carpal Tunnel Prevention

Carpal Tunnel syndrome is an epidemic that continues to grow amongst American workers. Virtually every profession is affected in some way. Any time a worker performs repetitive or strenuous movements with their wrists, they are at risk for carpal tunnel syndrome and the painful and debilitating symptoms that follow. As you will see from the research and statistics below, there is a dire need for carpal tunnel syndrome prevention.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 32.8% of repetitive motion job injuries lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. This syndrome is vast in its reach and affects over eight million Americans annually. In 2010, The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that over five million workers reported problems with carpal tunnel syndrome that year.

How to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

While heredity and other factors like pregnancy or some diseases make it near impossible to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome for many people, there are some practices you can adopt to lessen your chances of suffering from this condition. An overall healthy lifestyle will help prevent CTS, or at least minimize the painful symptoms.

Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking are some daily practices you can adopt to help prevent CTS. Obesity, which is often caused by overeating and lack of exercise, will slow down the nervous system and make you more susceptible to the syndrome. Smoking interferes with blood flow, which can also lead to CTS. Practicing better posture will help keep your wrists in good shape. If you slump over, this makes the muscles in your neck and shoulders shorten, which puts more pressure on your arms and wrists.

Daily Habits to Keep CTS Away

Other daily practices can help you prevent CTS. Make sure when you sleep that you aren’t bending your wrists. If needed, you can purchase an over-the-counter brace to help keep your wrists straight at night. Keep your muscles, especially those in your wrists and hands, warm. Warm muscles are more flexible and get better blood flow. Also, concentrate on loosening your grip when performing any tasks with your wrists. Pay attention to how tightly you grip keys and even a pen.

If you work in a position that would make you more susceptible to CTS, make sure you take frequent breaks. It is recommended that you take a stretching break at least once an hour during your work day. If your job requires you to perform the same movements each day, switch it up by trying to use your other hand or work from another position. 

One of the most important practices you can adopt is frequent stretches. The following stretches are our favorite for helping to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome:

Steeple Hands Stretch

This is a great stretch you can do anytime you feel your wrists are getting tight or sore. With relaxed and bent elbows, hold both hands out in front of you with your palms facing each other. Touch each finger and your thumb with the same finger on the other hand. Push your hands together until all fingers and your palms are touching each other.

Then slowly roll your palms back out away from each other while leaving the tips of your fingers together. This will look almost like you are holding a hamburger. Repeat this movement between five and ten times, or until your hands and fingers feel warmed up and stretched. This is a nice stretch you can do sitting at your desk without disturbing your office mates. Try this exercise as many as a few times an hour if needed.

Stretch Them Out

If you are continuously typing on a keyboard, or your work requires you to repeat the same movements with your wrists each day, it’s important to take time, at least once an hour, to stretch out your wrists. One way to do this is by holding out one arm straight in front of you with your wrist relaxed. With the other hand, gently pull your relaxed hand towards you until you feel a stretch in your wrist. Repeat with the other hand.

Another way to stretch out your wrists is to take each wrist and circle it around. Circle each wrist clockwise for three revolutions and then repeat the stretch moving in the opposite direction. This is a quick and simple stretch that you can do while sitting at your desk, and you can repeat it as many times as needed throughout your work day.

Shake Them Out

This is another simple activity you can do periodically while working. Place both hands out in front of you with your elbows bent and your wrists relaxed. Shake your hands back and forth quickly, as if you just washed your hands and you’re trying to fling the water off of them. 

Conclusion

Now that you know how to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, you will be healthier and feel great. The better you feel, the more productive you will be in your job and daily life.   

How Do Braces Work & How Do They Straighten Your Teeth

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For a lot of us, braces are a rite of passage. If you’ve ever wondered, how do braces work?, one answer is that it is a gradual and scientific process. While you may ask your orthodontist every visit how much longer you have to wear them, the fact is that braces work best if they apply pressure to your teeth slowly and gradually. If the process is hurried, it won’t be effective and you won’t be happy with the results. To understand more why that great smile takes some time, read below.

How Do Braces Work?

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Braces work by applying just the right amount of pressure to your teeth to move them into a new and straighter position. The technical term for this process is biomechanical response, or remodeling. While getting braces is considered a dental procedure, you usually see an orthodontist to have it done. 

An orthodontist is a dental specialist who concentrates in correcting irregularities in the teeth. We will discuss the specifics of this process below, but first we need to look at the various components that make up a set of braces.

Equipment Used in Braces

The first piece of equipment used in traditional braces is a bracket. This small, typically metal, deviceis bonded to the front of each of your teeth. It is built so that wires and bands can be attached to it. The archwire is a pre-shaped wire with an arch shape. The orthodontist will attach the wire to all the brackets on your teeth.

These wires are special in that they have a tendency to want to reshape into an arch, even after they have been manipulated to hook into the brackets. It’s their tendency to straighten that moves your teeth and eventually gives you that beautifully straight smile you’ve been dreaming about. The archwires come in varying thicknesses and shapes depending on your specific treatment plan and needs.

If you have an overbite or underbite, you may also need some jaw movement. For this, the orthodontist will use elastics. These are rubber bands that attach to your brackets to realign your jaw. They are removable, and your orthodontist will tell you when it is necessary to install them. Your orthodontist could use a few other items like springs, headgear, or spacers if needed.

The Science Behind “How Do Braces Work?”

Contrary to popular belief, our teeth are not growing directly from our jaw bones. If they were, it would be impossible to manipulate them into a new position. The roots of our teeth are surrounded by a membrane called the periodontal membrane. This membrane can grow and break down the cells in the roots to make it possible to move them to a new permanent position.

When a tooth is moved because of the constant and gentle pressure of the archwire, it is moving away from the periodontal membrane on one side and closer to it on the other. On the side where the tooth is moving away, bone growing cells called osteoblasts are produced, making this new position permanent. This process is called deposition. Deposition takes an average of three months.

On the other side of the tooth where the archwire is pushing the tooth into the periodontal membrane, the pressure breaks down bone in a process called osteoclasts. This breakdown makes room for the tooth in a process called resorption, which takes about three days. Every time your orthodontist adjusts your braces, this process takes place.

The Different Types of Braces

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While the science behind “how do braces work?” is true for all types of braces, there are options for you and your orthodontist to choose from. In most cases your orthodontist will choose the style that works best for your treatment plan. Many patients are in adolescence when braces are applied, but adults can get braces too, and your age may be a determining factor for the type you choose.

Traditional

Traditional braces have the classic metal brackets with the metal archwire. The archwire is held on by tiny elastic o-rings. To make the brackets a little less visible, most orthodontists offer ceramic or clear brackets. Depending on the quality of the material, these brackets can yellow.

Lingual

If you prefer your braces to be invisible, you can request lingual braces. They are made the same way as the traditional ones, only the brackets and archwire go behind your teeth. One thing to watch out for with these braces is that your tongue might accidentally brush up against the metal, causing some discomfort.

Calledaligner

A new style of braces is calledaligner trays. These braces are clear plastic molds of your teeth that get changed out periodically in order to slowly re-align your smile. They fit on almost like a mouth guard, and this style is very appealing because they are clear. Since the patient can remove these braces, they are not recommended for younger children.

Things to Know Before You Get Braces

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Some teens look forward to the day when they get their braces. The newness is exciting. Others might dread it because they’ve heard stories about the soreness, or they are afraid others might tease them. It’s a privilege, and the beautiful smile you have when the orthodontist takes them off will be worth the time and any mild discomfort.

Installation

When the day comes for your braces to be installed, it may take anywhere from forty-five minutes to an hour for your orthodontist and his team to finish the job. You won’t feel any pain or discomfort during the process, and typically there isn’t any soreness this first go around. The wiring in your mouth will take some getting used to, and your orthodontist will give you some wax to cover any parts of your braces that are making the inside of your mouth sore.

Follow Up and Care

You will probably see your orthodontist every eight to ten weeks for adjustments, and after these adjustments you may feel a little sore. This can easily be fixed with some ibuprofen or tylenol, and possibly a milkshake. A milkshake here and there won’t hurt, but it is very important that you take care of your teeth while wearing braces. This means no popcorn, hard candy, or chewing gum.

It’s advised that you brush after every meal and floss with special flossers specifically for braces. Some patients use water picks to help clean in and around the brackets.

You may miss some snack foods, and flossing and brushing with braces will take some getting used to, but typically you will only wear them for one to three years.

Retainers

Retainers are plastic inserts you wear that help maintain your new smile. The braces, retainer, and all the visits in between is an investment, and the overall financial cost averages $5,000. Typically orthodontic offices will let you pay this in installments. Overall, it’s a small price to pay for that new beautiful smile.

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to the question “how do braces work?”, you can appreciate all that goes into a beautiful smile. Using a series of slow and steady pressures, your teeth can be taken from crooked to straight, and the results will leave you full of confidence. Getting braces is a commitment, but it is one you will never regret.

The 7 Reasons Why You Should Stay Away From The Flu Shot

Before we talk about reasons not to get the flu shot, we need to understand two things: what is the flu, and who should get a flu shot?

What Is the Flu?

What we popularly call the flu is in fact shorthand for the influenza virus. Since a virus causes the flu, it is immune to antibiotics. The only protection against such a virus is an immunization.

Types of Viruses

Viruses fall into two broad categories: those that can easily be cured by the body’s own immune system and those that are problematic. The common cold is a virus, but it is one that is usually easily cured by your body’s immune system. Because there are over 190 identified cold viruses, creating a vaccine against them all is virtually impossible.

The Flu Virus

There are many flu viruses, too, so it is very difficult to create a vaccine that will reach them all. The difference between the flu and cold virus is that certain flu viruses first rear their ugly heads one year ahead of their seasonal worldwide spread. So companies who are developing flu viruses have roughly a year to pick which flu viruses they’re going to create an immunization against.

So why do we try to create flu immunization shots but don’t try to create cold immunization shots? Simple. Colds don’t kill people, at least not to the degree that flu viruses do. And while in a typical season one flu virus will shoot ahead of all others and be the primary culprit behind most flu illnesses, colds can’t be predicted in this way. 

Person getting flu shot

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How Are Particular Flu Viruses Picked for the Vaccine?

Picking the right flu virus to tackle is the challenge for those tasked with picking the viruses for which the pharmaceutical companies will develop immunization packages, popularly know as flu shots. In effect, they have to guess which viruses that started in the previous year are most likely to spread worldwide.

Most flu viruses start in southern China. People there live in the house with both pigs and fowl, and in very hot and humid environments that facilitate the development and spread of disease. The particular strain of the flu virus that will afflict the whole world each year almost always starts in a pig or a fowl somewhere in South China. The flu virus, which mutates rapidly, goes between animals until it reaches a mutation that can also infect human beings. Once that happens, people start to show symptoms of influenza.

Usually, the initial spread of the virus isn’t large enough to cause a pandemic, so, pharmaceutical companies have some breathing room. But since it takes at least six months to create enough of a flu vaccine to immunize a large population, the makers of the vaccine have to guess which of the new strains of the flu have the best chance of transmitting themselves worldwide.

Sometimes they guess right, but sometimes they don’t. Flu vaccines typically contain antibodies against two or three of the influenza strains that experts agree have the most chance of spreading worldwide. So one reason not to get the flu shot is it’s a crap shoot. It may or may not truly protect you from contracting the flu if scientists guess wrong about which strains will spread. They often guess wrong.

How Many People Die Annually From the Flu?

When considering reasons not to get the flu shot, one should look at some statistics. Estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the United States show the average number of hospitalizations and deaths due to influenza in recent years are as follows:

Young lady with bandana on her face

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Hospitalizations

Hospitalization from flu-related causes averages between 140,000 and 960,000 annually since 2010.

Deaths

Deaths due to influenza has averaged between 12,000 and 79,000 annually since 2010.

What Is the Flu Shot?

Flu shots contain inactivated (killed) flu viruses that don’t cause the flu. These allow the body to create antibodies against the specific viruses in the vaccine. Some people fear that the flu viruses had not been completely killed and believe they are at risk of catching the flu by using this type of vaccine. Even though this is not true, many people shy away from using the vaccine because of this fear.

Live but attenuated flu vaccines are used in nasal spray flu vaccines that are sold under the trade names LAIV or FluMist.

Are There Benefits to Getting the Flu Shot?

When looking at reasons not to get the flu shot, we should start by examining the reasons why some people should get the flu shot.

The most obvious benefit is that the flu shot reduces hospitalizations and saves lives. There is no estimate of how many additional hospitalizations there would have been since 2010 if no flu shot had been available. But it is reasonable to assume that if you remove the effectiveness of the flu shot, the numbers would be increased by the same percentage.

For example, in the 2017-2018 flu season, which was one of the worst in recent years, the effectiveness of the vaccine was estimated at 40 percent. An estimated 80,000 people in the US died. By the numbers then, had there been no flu vaccine available, those numbers would likely have increased by 40 percent. Instead of 80,000 people dying, we may very well have had 112,000 people dying from influenza. 

Person adding medicine in a syringe

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Are There Valid Reasons Not to Get the Flu Shot?

Absolutely. Here are seven reasons why some people should not get a flu shot:

You Are Under Six Months Old

Young children are usually protected by their mothers’ immunities, particularly when a baby is breast feeding. Moreover, it is difficult to perform vaccine studies on children so young; so the risk of a vaccination is just too great.

You Have Had Previous Allergic Reactions to a Flu Vaccine

If an individual has had an allergic reaction, the chances are high that being exposed to another flu vaccine will bring on the same allergic reaction. There are differences in flu vaccines, however, so you should not assume that one vaccine will give you the same reaction as another. Check with your doctor and pharmacist before deciding.

You Are Allergic to Any Component of the Flu Vaccine

Before getting a flu vaccine, you will be given a questionnaire listing all the potential allergy situations that you may encounter.

You Already Have a Fever

if you have a fever at 101 degrees or higher, avoid taking the flu vaccine until you are better.

Person with fever

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You Have a Known Egg Allergy

Many flu vaccines are cultured in eggs, so if you have an allergy to eggs, those vaccines may cause an allergic reaction. Before rejecting flu vaccines out of hand, realize that many flu vaccines are now cultured in animal cells. So check with your doctor or pharmacist before automatically rejecting the flu vaccine for this reason.

You Have Had Guillain-Barre Syndrome Within the Last Six Weeks

Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder in which peripheral nerves are damaged and cannot transmit signals efficiently. Because Guillain-Barre syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, and the cause is not known, taking the flu vaccine is contraindicated for such patients.

You Have a Fear of Vaccines

We all need to be comfortable with the health decisions we make. There is a growing movement that proposes that vaccines cause more harm, or may cause harm to some, that outweighs their benefits in preventing not only disease in individuals, but in a community as a whole.

If you have firm convictions, religious or otherwise, that would cause you significant mental trauma if you, a loved one, or a child were to have a vaccine, then you should weigh your mental angst against the possibility of the benefits having such a vaccine may provide.

Protecting the Herd

One of the worst viruses ever to exist was the pandemic known as smallpox. Because of a world-wide program of immunizations against this horrific disease, it was eradicated. The last known case of smallpox was diagnosed in October 1977, and the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease eradicated in 1980.

image of a virus microscopic

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When people in their 60s today were children, poliomyelitis caused countless deaths of children while fully or partially paralyzing many more. When Jonas Salk created the first polio vaccine, parents all over the world rejoiced. No longer would their children be subjected to this debilitating and often fatal disease. Today, while polio as a disease has not been eradicated, instances of it among immunized populations are now almost nil.

What would have prevented these two diseases from being eradicated if people had decided not to get their children vaccinated?

To understand how large populations become immune from deadly viruses, one has to understand the concept of herd immunity. For a large population to become immune to a disease, a significant portion of the population needs to be vaccinated against the disease. Children in particular, who are more susceptible to disease, need to get this protection early.

Conclusion

Are there valid reasons not to get the flu shot? Certainly. We’ve examined several them in this article. At the same time, one should consider the effects not only on their own family, but on their community as a whole if they decide that they have reasons not to get the flu shot or not to have their children immunized.

How To Lose Belly Fat: Basics, Tips, And Techniques

Woman cyclist drinking supplement to lose belly fat

Belly fat is arguably the worst kind and sometimes the hardest to lose. Belly fat is mostly visceral fat. It’s much deeper than the fat that causes cottage cheese thighs or that waddle under a chin. It surrounds organs and invades much of your abdominal cavity. The real problem with this type of fat isn’t the way it looks but the health concerns associated with it.

It isn’t uncommon for people that don’t appear overweight to harbor unhealthy stores of visceral fat since it hides inside you and doesn’t start showing until the problem is pretty bad. That’s not to say all thin people have deadly fat hiding in their gut, but if you eat anything you want and fail to gain weight, you may be at risk for the same obesity-related diseases as overweight people.

Green smoothie for losing belly fat

Several diseases and conditions may be directly related to the amount of visceral fat your body is storing. Some of these diseases and conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Joint inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Artery diseases
  • Sudden heart attack

Carrying around too much fat isn’t healthy no matter where it is stored in your body. However, fat near your skin is much less dangerous than visceral fat. Your body needs fat to function correctly, and it needs to store some fat for various reasons like emergency energy stores or even adding a little cushion here and there.

Subcutaneous fat, the fat you find when you pinch your waist or under your chin is easy to lose. By easy, we mean changing your diet to include a nutritious meal plan and exercise. If you eat right and get yourself moving, subcutaneous fat goes away quickly depending on how much you need to lose. Visceral fat is much more robust and often hangs out in areas that don’t move much during exercise.

So, visceral fat is usually the last fat stores to leave. Your body uses visceral fat, at healthy levels, to protect some organs and it plays a few other roles like helping out your endocrine and immune systems. At unhealthy levels, visceral fat chokes organs and may reduce blood flow to some organs. The end result of carrying a lot of visceral fat for years is terrible any way you look at it.

What Causes Visceral Fat to Grow?

measuring and preparing to lose belly fat

The first step to getting rid of anything is understanding how it works and what factors affect it. The leading causes of visceral fat include chronic stress and consuming too many carbohydrates. We know, you don’t eat stress, but stress does cause your body to store more fat. Stress-related hormones reduce your body’s rate of fat loss and increase the speed at which it saves fat.

Carbohydrates, especially fast digesting carbs like sugar, increase the insulin levels in your blood. Insulin is responsible for directing carbohydrates on their journey through your body, among other things. A rapid spike in insulin caused by processed foods and carbohydrates turns off fat cells. That’s right, like a switch it tells fat cells to stop sending fat to the liver because you have a ton of carbs to use for energy.

The result is not fat is burned for fuel, yet excess carbohydrates get stored as more fat. Hormones and some genetic issues may contribute to weight gain but eating poorly and refusing to exercise regularly get most of the credit for adding fat to your body. If you’re under stress constantly and eating poorly, your chances of accumulating extra visceral fat are much higher than average.

How to Lose Subcutaneous and Visceral Belly Fat Through Dieting

Orange juice for losing belly fat

Losing fat is losing fat, right? In a sense, it is but subcutaneous fat responds well to almost any legitimate meal plan provided it’s balanced, and you lower your calorie intake to force your body to burn fat. For instance, if your body needs 1,500 calories each day to stay exactly like it is now, removing 300 calories from your daily intake may cause weight loss. It won’t be fast, but that’s how it works.

If you add a workout program to your weekly routine, you’ll increase the rate of fat loss. However, exercising alone does little to remove fat. You’ll lose more water than fat which gives the appearance of weight loss. Losing weight and building a healthy lifestyle lives and dies in your kitchen. What you put in your body fuels your muscles or adds fat.

Diets that include a lot of processed foods and carbohydrates help increase your bodies deposits of visceral fat, so removing these two things will help if you don’t do anything else. We recommend trying a ketogenic diet or any high-fat diet. A high protein diet works too, but if you aren’t exercising regularly the excess protein won’t get used, and your body can’t store protein. It may be bad for your kidneys too.

They key to losing visceral fat by changing your nutrition plan is removing carbohydrates or removing fast digesting and processed carbs. Good carbs digest slower and don’t cause insulin spikes in your blood. Two excellent examples of good carbs include oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Both taste good, and the carbs in them digest slowly to provide sustained energy levels.

Citrus fruit for losing belly fat

Intermittent fasting may help you lose weight up to ten percent faster than dieting alone. However, fasting isn’t for everyone and sticking to it requires some willpower the first few times you try it. It seems easy in theory, but your body will fight you and hunger is a hard enemy to beat. The best approaching to fasting is starting slow and working your way up to longer times.

The two most popular ways to fast include 24-hour fasting and scheduled eating. With 24-hour fasting, you just don’t eat for 24-hours and force your body to live off of water. Some fasting programs allow you to drink other beverages but never anything with carbohydrates, protein, or fat in it. Start this process slowly with some test fasting periods of eight to ten hours the first few times.

Scheduled eating programs may not get considered fasting by purists, but it is a form of fasting that works. The concept is simple, set a time period in the morning and another in the early evening where you don’t allow yourself to eat anything. For example, do not consume anything except water before 10 AM or after six in the evening.

Fasting isn’t a license to eat anything you want when fasting periods end. You need to stick to a nutrition plan that includes healthy foods to improve your fat loss rate. Fasting is just a way to speed up the process a little and shock your body into burning fat. No plan to lose weight works if you keep eating junk and letting your taste buds win.

Exercise Regularly to Lose Belly Fat

Jeans after losing belly fat

Like we mentioned above, probably a few times, losing belly fat begins in the kitchen. You may exercise hard for two hours each day and not lose any fat if you continue to eat junk or overeat. If you want to lose belly fat through exercise, you must feed your body correctly and force it to metabolize its fat stores for energy.

The best exercise program for fat loss is, arguably, high-intensity interval training or HIIT. HIIT programs are brutal, so prepare yourself and start slow. HIIT combines cardio and resistance training to test the limits of your endurance. In the process, it really speeds up fat loss. Cross fit, lifting weights, and cardio all help, but HIIT is by far the best if fat loss is your primary goal.

Motivation is a rare thing, and it’s hard to motivate yourself to meal prep and exercise. If you need help, find a personal trainer or ask the staff at your gym for help. Don’t go at it alone based on information you found online. Get serious about your health and find the right solutions for your body. Make up your mind now to change your lifestyle and never look back.

Disclaimer: How to Lose Belly Fat

Abs exercise for losing belly fat

If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s safe for us to assume your health is important to you. The worst thing you could do is go into any diet plan or exercise plan without understanding the consequences. Older adults and people with body fat percentages over 20 percent should consult their doctor before any abrupt changes to their diet.

Talk to your doctor about any exercise program you plan to start. You need to know if your body can take the abuse. This goes double for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, or any heart condition. If your doctor doesn’t want you attempting HIIT, ask them what type of exercise they recommend for you. Follow their advice and don’t take any chances with your health.

CONCLUSION

measuring belly while holding a salad for losing belly fat

We know millions of people suffer from obesity and weight control problems, so referring to fat loss as easy wasn’t a jab at you. The road to weight loss is simple but finding time and motivation may prove difficult. Personal trainers and apps that log your food intake and exercise intervals help out a lot, so use these tools.

Dilated Eyes? 9 Possible Causes

Blonde woman prone to dilated eyes

Tiny muscles in the colored part of your eye control your pupil’s size. The iris is the colored part of your eye, and it controls how much light enters your eye. A normal, healthy iris expands and contracts to allow more light in if it’s dark and less light when the conditions become brighter. Pupils that get dilated expand to an abnormal size and often refuse to contract.

Normal pupils in younger adults may be 2 to 4 millimeters wide in bright conditions and expand to almost 8 millimeters in very dark states. Pupil size varies a little, but those numbers indicate an average size. Older adults may see their pupils shrink a little with age making it harder to see in dark situations, but the change is often so minor it doesn’t affect eyesight.

Several things may cause pupils to dilate including some medications and medical disorders. While a dilated pupil is a symptom of a condition called anisocoria, it’s not the same thing as dilated pupils, but the two get confused with each other quite often. People suffering from anisocoria may end up with two pupils of varying sized whereas dilated pupils tend to mirror each other’s size.

​The Likely Culprits Behind Your Dilated Eyes

Yellow eyes which is likely to become dilated eyes

Alcohol may cause your pupils to dilate or react slowly to changes in the light. If you often have a few drinks after work or on the weekend and just noticed your eyes widening, wait until the alcohol wears off and see if they return to normal. If they still refuse to contract and expand correctly, consider the following medications since they may cause dilated pupils, they include:

  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Botox medications or treatments
  • Atropine
  • Antihistamines
  • Drugs for motion sickness

Eyeglasses for dilated eyes

Always consult your doctor before stopping or starting any medication whether it’s prescribed or over the counter drugs. Some of the medicines above may save your life. Talk to your doctor if they put you on new medications that seem to cause dilated pupils. They may swap you to a different type of drugs or have some advice on ways to treat the dilation. Either way, always talk to your doctor about drugs.

If you just started taking some new drugs and your pupils dilate, it’s pretty easy to figure out the medication is the culprit. However, some of the drugs on our list may cause dilated pupils months after you start taking them instead of right away. This is why we stress talking to your physician or pharmacists. Either person will tell you if the side effects include dilated pupils.

You probably need to ask your doctor about non-prescription medications as well, especially if you take any of the medicines on the list that requires a prescription just to stay safe. If you suspect a pill that you picked up off the shelf is causing your pupil problems, it’s probably safe to stop taking those drugs and see if the issue ends.

Another problem you may experience is drugs reacting poorly to other medications if you start taking something new. For instance, if you take motion sickness medication and it’s never caused your pupils to dilate, and your doctor recently prescribed an antidepressant, the two drugs may not play well together. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to confirm and seek alternative remedies.

INJURIES AND DISEASES MAY CAUSE PUPIL DILATION

Eyes prone to dilated eyes

Any injury to the eye that includes damage in or around the iris may cause dilation at the time of the accident or years later if scar tissue gets in the way. A number of eye surgeries including cataract and glaucoma surgery. Some eye surgeries carry a fair amount of risk, so ask your doctor about possible side effects before having a procedure done.

Benign episodic unilateral mydriasis which often comes with or before a migraine may cause pupil dilation. If you experience severe headaches with pain behind your eyes, this condition may explain your dilated pupils and blurry vision. In some cases, the pupil dilation and blurry vision that comes with this disorder may last twelve hours or longer. Talk to your doctor about treatment if this is common.

On a side note about benign episodic unilateral mydriasis; young women experience this disorder more often than older women or men of any age. Older women and men may experience this condition, but it’s more common in younger women. When the headaches leave, the symptoms usually dissipate, and your pupils should return to normal without treatment unless your experience this problem often.

Adie’s pupil, sometimes called tonic pupil, is actually a neurological disorder that causes one pupil to grow larger than the other one. The condition is rare, but it may be the cause of dilated pupils. Unfortunately, a cure for Adie’s pupil doesn’t exist at the time of this writing. Also, what causes Adie’s pupil is a mystery, but head trauma, infections, and some surgeries may cause the disorder.

Some brain injuries such as blunt force trauma or piercing of the brain may cause your pupils to dilate permanently. Injuries usually cause only one pupil to dilate, and your doctor probably discussed this with you if you’ve injured your brain. That said, a concussion may not require immediate medical attention if you’re not aware you have one. If you suspect an untreated injury, talk to your doctor.

A random dilated pupil or pupils that seem mysterious may be a sign you have a neurological disorder or brain tumor. If you suddenly find your pupils dilate without cause, consult your doctor right away because you may suffer from an untreated brain injury or a tumor. Getting up to fast and banging your head on a cabinet door or other minor head injuries may hurt your brain. Get it checked out.

​Self-Inflicted Causes for Dilated Pupils

dilated eye peeping at a hole

We don’t have any proof, but alcohol may end up as the chief cause for random pupil dilation. However, if you consume enough to cause pupil dilation, it’s doubtful you’ll notice pupil dilation, and it’ll wear off as the alcohol wears off. This is the primary reason we didn’t count alcohol as one of the causes for dilated pupils, but we felt it needed mentioning and a little explanation anyway.

Recreational drug use sort of falls into the same category as alcohol but some drugs leave you more aware of your surroundings than others. However, LSD, Ecstasy, cocaine, and amphetamines may heighten your senses but also cause pupil dilation in many cases. We don’t have a complete list of recreational drugs, but if you partake in any, either stop or talk to your doctor about side effects.

Sexual arousal or even mild attraction may cause your pupils to dilate. Pupils dilate during sex, or when we look at people, we find attractive. The change in your iris may go unnoticed, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s rare but not unheard of for pupils to remain dilated after sex for a few hours. If your pupils get stuck after sex in an enlarged state often, talk to your doctor about possible causes for this.

Bonus: Possible Solutions or Cures for Dilated Pupils

Woman holding an eyeglass for dilated eyes

It may sound like a broken record but seek medical attention if the cause for your dilated pupils is not readily determined or if someone else notices them before your vision changes. If you know motion sickness drugs or decongestant medications affect your pupils, you may not need to worry as much. That said, talk to your doctor or pharmacists to see if they have any advice or alternatives.

Some medical conditions or drugs cause pupils to dilate, and there’s little you can do about it. You may end up stuck with the problem until your doctor takes you off the medication of your condition is cured. However, people that wear eyeglasses may need to try a simple remedy and switch to photochromic lenses. These lenses lighten and darken automatically based on the amount of light hitting them.

Your pupils can’t control themselves, or your medications inhibit full control of your iris, so photochromic lenses do the work for them. They’ll limit the amount of light that enters your eye and may help reduce headaches and nausea that often come with pupil dilation problems.  Talk to your eye doctor and find out if these lenses could solve your problem.

If you know you’re stuck with a dilated pupil and worry about the way it looks, talk to your eye doctor about cosmetic contact lenses. Your doctor may call them prosthetic contact lenses. These contact lenses cover up the pupil and make it less noticeable. The only drawback is you may need one for each eye to make your eyes match. Wearing contact lenses isn’t for everyone.

CONCLUSION

shown dilated eyes of a covered woman's face

We listed nine possible causes for pupil dilation above. We considered reactions to prescribed or over the counter medications as one cause since it seemed like one definition with some sub-definitions. Sudden or random pupil dilation may be scary and cause problems driving, so seek medical attention if it happens a lot. Your doctor knows your medical history and may find other causes or concerns.

How To Lose Weight Fast: The Ultimate Diet Guide

No matter if you’re trying to fit into your favorite suit for an upcoming event or are merely looking to jump start the new you, you may be looking to learn how to lose weight fast. Although losing weight takes time, there are some things you can do to help drop the initial few pounds quickly. Below, you’ll find our recommendations on how to lose weight fast.

Cut Down on Carbs

Carbs

You may be well aware of the fact that you should “cut carbs,” but many people fail to recognize just how many foods contain carbohydrates and which types of carbohydrates they should be cutting. If you’re looking for ways to lose weight fast, you’ll most want to focus on cutting sugars and starches out of your diet.

The primary reason for doing this is because you’ll end up cutting your appetite. When you consume a diet that is heavy in sugars and starches, your body feels the need to refuel because of the insulin spikes that these foods provide. When you cut back on these foods, your hunger levels will decrease. When you’re not hungry, you don’t feel the need to eat. So, you’ll end up consuming fewer calories.

However, your body will still need fuel to get through the day. Typically, your body would utilize food you’ve consumed as fuel. But since you’re not eating as much, your body will turn to another source for fuel and will begin burning fat. Additionally, because your insulin levels are lower when you cut carbs, your kidneys will shed excess water and sodium. This could help reduce bloating.

Some people indicate that they lose up to ten pounds in the first week when they cut carbs. Not all of that weight is necessarily fat, as some of it is water. However, we’re willing to bet that you’ll find yourself feeling much healthier either way. You can learn more about the benefits of low-carb diets by taking a look at this chart, which compares low-carb diets to low-fat diets.

Increase Your Protein Intake

As a substitute for carbs, you should look to add more protein to your diet. The benefits of consuming protein are tremendous. Studies have found that eating an abundance of protein could boost your metabolism and cause you to burn at least a hundred extra calories per day. Additionally, those that consume high amounts of protein stay fuller longer, with 60 percent saying they reduced their cravings.

Furthermore, approximately half of those who ate high-protein diets said that they no longer had late-night cravings for snacks. Because you feel so much fuller throughout the day, a diet high in protein could result in you eating around 440 calories less per day. With those numbers, you would lose nearly a pound per week without incorporating any exercise into your routine.

You can find protein in numerous sources. For instance, if you enjoy meat, beef, pork, chicken, and lamb are all high in protein. If you enjoy seafood, salmon is one of the top sources of protein available. Trout and shrimp would also work. You can also add protein to your diet by consuming eggs, preferably whole with the yolk.

If you are vegetarian, you can still eat a high-protein, low-carb diet, although you may have to get more creative with your meals. Consider foods such as almonds, walnuts, nut butter, and chia seeds. You can also look into dairies, such as cheese and yogurt. Additionally, many vegetables contain more protein than you would think. For instance, kale contains almost 5g of protein per 100g.

Diversify Your Plate

Although you’re looking to cut carbs out of your diet, you will still need to have some carbs in your diet. The recommended carb range for those looking to lose weight is 20 to 50 grams per day. So, when constructing your meals, you should make sure that you include a protein source, a fat source, and a carb source. The carb source should come in the form of a low-carb vegetable.

Low-carb vegetables can help fill you up without bloating you or weighing you down. It’s easy to incorporate side dishes made from low-carb vegetables, especially when you get creative with how you cook them. Don’t just assume that you have to steam or boil your vegetables. Feel free to roast, broil, or sauté them as well. Examples of low-carb vegetables that you may want to consider include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber

Drink More Water

Studies have shown that water is incredibly beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight fast. Keep in mind that if you begin drinking more water, the number on the scale could increase. Know that this is temporary and that you’re losing fat as a result. You should be much more concerned about how you feel rather than the number you see on the scale.

One of the reasons water is most beneficial to weight loss is because it helps you feel fuller longer. When you drink more water, you trick your stomach into thinking you’re full. This will prevent your stomach from signaling to your brain that it needs food, which will help cut down on cravings. Thus, you’ll end up eating fewer calories, which can help you lose weight.  

Additionally, water helps flush toxins from your system, which is imperative when you are losing weight. If you do not drink enough water, your body will release an antidiuretic hormone. As a result, you’ll end up hanging onto water, which could cause you to feel more bloated and could drive up the figure on the scale. The more hydrated you are, the better off you will be.

This does not necessarily mean you have to walk around all day with a gallon of water by your side. Instead, aim for the recommended 64 ounces a day, or eight glasses of water that are eight ounces each. Also, while water should make up a majority of your fluid intake, you can also obtain it in different, more flavorful forms. Make sure they are non-calorie alternatives, such as coffee and unsweetened tea.  

Incorporate Weight Training into Your Regiment

weight training

When it comes to losing weight fast, your diet is by far the most critical component. You could work out for hours each week, but if your food is not in check, you won’t lose any weight. Having said that, if you focus on improving your diet, you may not even need to work out to see the pounds fall off quickly. But, if you’re looking for an extra push or would like to add more, consider incorporating weight training.

To start, try working out at home first. Clear a section where you can perform basic bodyweight movements, such as squats and assisted push-ups. You can also incorporate high-intensity interval training at home by doing things such as jumping jacks or skipping rope. You should be able to find a beginner’s bodyweight workout program online easily.

Also, remember to warm up and stretch adequately. Your body will likely not be familiar with working out, so it will come as a shock to your system. Stretching before and after a workout is an excellent way to prevent injury. If you injure yourself while working out because you pushed yourself too hard, there’s a good chance that you’ll lose motivation to keep working out, derailing your weight loss efforts.

After you’ve eased into things and your body has gotten used to working out and living a more active lifestyle, try going to the gym about three to four times per week. You do not have to become a world-class bodybuilder in the gym. Stick with light weights and high repetitions. Find ways to keep your heart rate up during your workout, as this will help you burn more calories and lose more weight.

If you have never lifted weights before, know that doing so could put a lot of stress on your joints, tendons, and muscles. Proper technique is far more essential than overloading the bar with weight. If you are unfamiliar with the gym, consider asking a trainer or other knowledgeable gym member for assistance and advice. If you’re not comfortable lifting weights, consider other cardio activities such as:

  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running

Lifting weights can be particularly beneficial when losing weight because it keeps your metabolism elevated. When you begin losing weight, your metabolism will want to decrease as a way to maintain fat stores. You need to overcome this and “retrain” your body to operate without such massive fat stores. So, working out not only helps burn calories but it also helps maintain a high metabolism.

Manage Stress Levels

Do you find that when you’re stressed, you’re more likely to eat? If so, you’re not alone. This is a proven phenomenon that occurs thanks to the release of cortisol. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, which increases your appetite for junk food. Studies have shown that those who are more stressed have a higher body weight.

Consider Your Long-Term Weight Loss Goals

athlete doing exercise

Like anyone who wants to learn how to lose weight fast, you likely want to see the pounds dissipate quickly. However, you should be more concerned about your long-term weight loss goals rather than short-term results. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that those who lose weight gradually and steady will have better long-term success with their weight loss.

According to the CDC, “gradually and steady” is equivalent to one to two pounds per week. The organization stresses that making overall changes to your lifestyle will increase the likelihood of you staying motivated to keep the weight off. Making fundamental changes to things such as your diet and your exercise habits will have the most substantial long-term results.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics echoes this sentiment, advising people to avoid using products that market themselves as helping people to lose weight fast. They too recommend that individuals lose weight gradually, instead of trying to lose it all at once. The organization says that while people may lose weight quickly, it won’t be healthy weight. Instead of fat, however, it will be a combination of:

  • Bone
  • Muscle
  • Water

We recommend that you find a hybrid between the two. You can look to learn how to lose weight fast, but also know that you must be careful to prevent yourself from adding the weight back on. Perhaps utilize a method to lose weight quickly when you first get started, knowing that you must make efforts to maintain the weight loss over time.  

We also recommend starting with fixing your diet. If you adjust a high-protein, low-carb diet, odds are you’ll see the pounds shed immediately. Depending on your body type, you could lose anywhere from 10 – 20 pounds within the first two weeks. Once you grow comfortable with your new diet, begin incorporating a workout program.

Two critical elements are also worth considering. First is the fact that the more weight you have to lose, the more likely you are to lose it quickly. For instance, someone who doctors consider obese will lose ten pounds more rapidly than someone who is relatively healthy, and doctors consider moderately overweight. The more fat you carry around, the more likely you are to lose weight fast.

Second is the fact that if you try to do everything at once, you likely won’t be able to sustain the results. Telling yourself that you are going to “go for it” is excellent in theory. But if you have spent years eating junk food and not working out, you can’t expect to flip the switch one day and expect the results to last. You are going to have to make fundamental changes to your lifestyle, which takes dedication.

In summary, if you do things the correct way, the weight will fall off naturally. It’s more important that you make sustainable changes to your lifestyle. The quickest way to lose weight is not by trying some fad or some miracle pill, but instead coming up with a diet and workout program that you feel as though you can adhere to for months or years.

6 Possible Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a condition that causes people to have limited to no vision in low light and poor light situations. There are several treatments available, but until you know the cause, treatment has to wait. Here we will examine night blindness and its causes to help you get to the bottom of the condition.

Although there is no age limit, night blindness generally affects older persons. Anywhere between 40 and 80-year-old humans, night blindness becomes an issue. We don’t know how many are affected, but the number being treated grows every year.

What causes this condition? Can it be treated? Can it be cured? This article will examine these questions and provide the answers. We will look at the seven main causes and find out what we can do to prevent and treat them. If you or someone you know suffers from this debilitating condition, this is the article for you.

You should always check with an eye doctor to be sure of the condition. Eye exams will be given, and specialized tests may be conducted to determine the cause. Because there are so many different causes, treatments, and conditions, it is next to impossible to say why a particular person may be suffering. Only a licensed ophthalmologist can find out for sure.

What is Night Blindness?

The medical term for the condition is called Nyctalopia. By definition, it is problems seeing in the dark or low light conditions. The cause is due to some different conditions, genetics or diseases, each with their own treatment or cure.

The main problem is identifying the cause. The only sure way is to have an eye exam which may require specialized testing. The eye doctor, or ophthalmologist, will be able to determine what is causing the impaired vision and be able to recommend a course of action regarding treatment better.

There are several terms for the condition which you may hear from time to time, especially from the eye doctor. These terms include:

  • Nyctalopia
  • Day Sight
  • Nyctalopia
  • Nocturnal Amblyopia

Regardless of the scientific term, one thing remains the same: Vision health when viewing objects, surroundings, and obstacles when switching from light to low light, or darkened areas, is difficult if not impossible.

What are the Causes and Symptoms of Night Blindness?

The actual number of causes will vary depending on who you talk to. However, most medical and scientific professionals can all agree that there are seven main causes. Let’s take a look at each one and find out what they are and what symptoms they cause.

Vitamin A Deficiency

The most prominent cause is a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to a degeneration of rhodopsin. Rhodopsin is a molecular pigment in the rods of the pupil that are reactive to light. When they are exposed to light, they go through a condition known as photobleaching. The end result is our pupils dilate or constrict, controlling how much light enters our eyes.

Rhodopsin is named from the Greek combination of words for rose and sight, because of the purple or pink rose color of the pigment. Vitamin A deficiency can cause this rhodopsin to fail to photobleach, and in dim light situations, they do not return the pupil to its correct dilation.

Corrective lenses can be worn to help counteract this condition, as well as increasing your diet of Vitamin A, which can be found in green leafy vegetables, milk, and liver.

Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the top three reasons for the impaired night vision. Cataract is the medical name for the clear lens of the eye becoming cloudy.

Over time the cloudiness can become such that the vision is impaired, leading to eventual blindness if left untreated. Before blindness, though, cataracts will prevent the required amount of light to enter the lens of the eye through the pupil.

In low light situations, this can mean you won’t see much, if anything, at all. Because the cloudiness blocks the light, in dim lighting no light may make it through to the eye.

In most cases, cataracts are treated through medications and eventually surgery. Once the surgery is completed, normal vision is returned, though cataracts often return, it is a slow process and may only present once if the person happens to be too old for the condition to return before their death.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a medical condition that affects the optic nerve. This nerve is what connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma presents with the eventual decay of the nerve and can lead to total blindness. Like cataracts, before this happens, night vision becomes impaired.

Glaucoma is generally treated with medications, which can also cause night vision problems. The medications constrict the pupils to let less light in, which feeds glaucoma. Because the pupils stay dilated even in low light conditions, the medications can also be blamed for day sight.

If this happens, corrective surgery may be taken to help protect the optic nerve, or a new medication may be administered to attempt to prevent surgery and maintain vision at night.

Diabetes

When blood sugar levels are uncontrolled, it can affect vision. Diabetes has many detrimental side effects, one of which being poor eyesight.

If diabetes has progressed, untreated to the point of vision impairment; little can be done to reverse it. However, if the disease is treated before vision problems, they can be avoided altogether.

It is unlikely, though it does happen, that vision impairment is the first sign of diabetes. In those rare cases, though, corrective lenses can be worn to aid the eyes in receiving enough light in dim light situations, or at night.

Unlike the corrective lenses used for a vitamin A deficiency, most diabetic lenses are not allowed to be used to drive a vehicle at night.

Keratoconus

Biological conditions are also a cause for vision impairment, and one such condition can lead to problems seeing at night. The condition is known as keratoconus, which is a biological condition where the cornea has a steep curve.

The cornea is the clear lens of the eye that reflects and directs light into the pupil. In people with keratoconus, the lens is too steeply curved to direct light to the pupil when the light sources are low, such as at night.

The condition also plays havoc in lighting conditions that are both bright and dim at the same time, such as watching a movie in a theater, where the screen if bright but the ambient lighting is dark.

You may also find this condition in flickering lights such as when candles or blinking lights are used as the sole light source. There are several treatments for this condition, depending on how severe the case is.

In mild cases, glasses can be worn to correct the lighting issue. In more severe cases you may require surgery. These surgeries can include intacs surgery, which is a surgical implant of a hard lens in the inside of the cornea (instead of a contact lens on the outside), or a complete corneal transplant surgery.

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition with the pigmentation of the eye which causes the eyesight to deteriorate slowly. Unlike untreated diabetes, the condition rarely, if ever, causes complete blindness.

However, it can be severe enough to cause you to fail to see at night. Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic condition and is passed down from generation to generation. It isn’t a guarantee that you will have the condition just because your parents or grandparents do. However, in virtually every case, there is a family member who also has it.

The condition is slow progressing, though it rarely stops completely. Once it has set in, it can take decades to reach complete blindness. Night vision is usually one of the first vision acuities to fail, though.

There is no known treatment for the condition. Several things can be done including increasing vitamin A intake, corrective lenses and learning to do things at a slower pace to help adjust to changing light conditions. You may need to stop in a dark room for a minute or two instead of walking straight in, for example. Or shield your eyes when a light is first turned on.

​In Conclusion

Impaired night vision is a real concern. What is most alarming is the number of different causes and underlying conditions. With at least seven known causes of night blindness, the varying treatments, if any, and the severity of the underlying conditions make it a truly terrifying condition.

Only an eye doctor can diagnose what is causing the impairment, and it is crucial to make an appointment as soon as you have fears of losing your sight at night. The conditions do not go away on their own, and the sooner you can be tested, the sooner treatment can be administered.

While losing your vision in the dark isn’t the end of the world, it can cause you undue stress and frustration, so get your eyes checked and continue to do so regularly.

7 Common Types Of Eye Infections

Woman wearing eyeglasses to prevent eye infections

Conjunctivitis is the most common type of infection that can affect the eyes. However, there are many other types of infections that have similar symptoms. Here is what you need to know about the most common eye infections and how they are treated.

Eye infections usually cause symptoms such as redness, pain, and discharge to appear. Did you know that infections can have different causes? These are the most common types of infections that can affect the eyes, their symptoms, and how they are usually treated.

Different Types Of Eye Infection

elderly getting checked up due to eye infections

Conjunctivitis Or Pink Eye

Woman with eye infections

Conjunctivitis is by far the most common infection that can affect the eyes. It can be very contagious, and young children are likely to be affected by this condition. It can spread from one eye to the other, which is why you should avoid touching your eyes if you suspect you have pink eye.

The good news is that conjunctivitis typically clears up on its own after a few days. However, you will have to take a few steps such as washing your hands regularly or changing your pillowcase to prevent the infection from spreading to the other eye and avoid contaminating others.

Pink eye affects the mucous membrane that protects the eye or conjunctiva. This membrane becomes red and inflamed.

Discharges or mucus can happen, and it is possible to experience itchiness, sensitivity to light, and a blurred vision.

Pink eye is often caused by a viral bacterial infection. Swollen lymph nodes are a common sign of a viral infection. In some cases, pink eye is caused by viruses, fungi, or is linked to an allergic reaction.

The treatment varies in function of what caused the infection. A viral infection will typically go away after a few days. Antibiotics or antihistamines might be prescribed if your doctor suspects that your conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection.

Viral Keratitis

Eye with infections getting treated with eye drops

Viral keratitis is an infection of the cornea or transparent tissue that covers the eye. This type of infection can become serious if it isn’t treated early. In some cases, keratitis can damage vision is left untreated for too long.

The symptoms of viral keratitis resemble other eye infections. You might experience redness, pain, discharge, and blurred vision. You may also feel that there is a foreign object in your eye and it might be difficult to open your eyelid.

This type of infection can be the result of swimming in contaminated water, being exposed to a virus, or using contact lenses that haven’t been properly disinfected.

Antibacterial and antiviral eye drops are often used to treat this type of infection. You might need to take oral antibiotics if you suffer from a severe infection.

Fungal Keratitis

Woman with eye infections while in the beach

This type of infection is caused by a fungus. There are different species of fungus found in nature that can cause fungal keratitis.

This condition is more frequent in tropical regions. It is often contracted after an injury where a foreign object penetrates the eye. However, contact lenses can also cause fungal keratitis.

The symptoms are similar to other forms of keratitis. They include redness, pain, and discharge.

Fungal keratitis is diagnosed by analyzing a sample of corneal tissues. If the infection is found to be caused by a fungus, your doctor will prescribe antifungal eye drops or ointment to get rid of the infection.

Ocular Herpes

Woman treating her eye infections with eye drops

Ocular herpes is not a common type of infection. However, the type 1 herpes simplex virus can affect the eyes if a person is in contact with someone who is infected with an active strain of the virus, or if they have been infected with the virus and end up touching their eyes after touching a cold sore.

Ocular herpes is similar to the process of a cold sore forming on the skin, but it affects the cornea of the eyes. It causes an inflammation of the eye and can affect vision.

In some cases, ocular herpes appears in tissues that are deeper than the cornea. This type of infection is rare and can cause more serious vision problems.

It is possible to manage this type of infection with antiviral eye drops and oral medication. An ointment or steroid drops can reduce inflammation and prevent scarring of the cornea. If scar tissues appear on the corner, they can sometimes be removed with surgery.

Contracting herpes means that recurring infections are likely to appear. Ocular herpes is a condition that will more than likely come back, but it is possible to manage it with eye drops or medication.

Trachoma

Boy with Trachoma eye infection

Trachoma is a serious eye infection that can result in blindness. It is caused by a type of bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis.

This isn’t a condition you are likely to encounter in the U.S., but it is the most common preventable cause of blindness around the globe. This is a condition you need to be aware of if you plan on traveling abroad. Children are more likely to get this type of infection.

Trachoma is contagious. It can spread by touching, by sharing items, and is sometimes spread by flies.

This condition is characterized by symptoms such as itching, irritation, and discharge. Patients often experience eye pain and sensitivity to light as well.

This infection causes the eyelid to swell and become deformed. As a result, the eyelashes can scratch and damage the cornea. If the infection isn’t treated, the cornea becomes cloudy and blindness sets in.

Trachoma can be treated with antibiotics. In some cases, surgery is needed to remove damaged tissues.

Endophthalmitis

Endophthalmitis eye infection

Endophthalmitis is a type of infection that affects the deeper tissues of the eye. It is not a common type of infection. However, you might be at risk to develop this condition if you underwent eye surgery or sustained an injury.

Cataract and glaucoma surgeries increase your risks of developing an infection in the deeper tissues of the eye. An injury where a foreign object penetrates the eye can also result in an infection appearing. There are also cases where endophthalmitis is the result of an infection spreading from another part of the body to the eye.

Symptoms include eye pain, decreased vision, discharge, and swollen eyelids. This condition can appear a month or more after a surgery or injury. It usually starts with mild symptoms such as a blurred vision or sensitivity to light.

If a healthcare provider suspects that the symptoms are caused by an infection, they will take tissues from the eye and do some tests to determine if an infection is present.

It is possible to treat this type of infection by injecting antibiotics into the eye to immediately reach the deeper tissues. Corticosteroids can be used to treat swelling.

If endophthalmitis is linked to the presence of a foreign object in the eye, removing the object should be a priority.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis

Acanthamoeba Keratitis eye infection

Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare type of eye infection caused by an amoeba known as Acanthamoeba. It affects the cornea and is similar to other types of keratitis.

This amoeba can be found in nature. Infection can happen after swimming in a lake, or after the eye is exposed to a foreign object. It is also possible to develop this infection by wearing contact lenses that weren’t properly disinfected or stored.

Symptoms include redness and sensitivity to light. You might also experience discharge and tearing, blurred vision, and eye pain. Some patients feel that there is a foreign object in their eye.

Blindness is a possible complication if this type of keratitis isn’t treated. It is diagnosed by scraping tissues from the cornea and analyzing them. It can be difficult to diagnose this condition since the symptoms are similar to other forms of keratitis.

You can reduce your risks of developing this type of eye infection by keeping your contact lenses clean and by storing them properly. Avoid swimming with contact lenses, and keep in mind that you are more at risk to develop this type of infection if you have a damaged cornea.

When To See A Doctor

Even though the severity of these different infections varies, the symptoms can be very similar. It can be difficult to determine if you are experiencing the symptoms of pink eye or the early symptoms of a more serious type of infection.

You should see a doctor if you experience eye pain or if your vision changes. You should also schedule an appointment with your doctor if the symptoms last more than a couple of days or if they seem to get worse.

Conjunctivitis is a mild condition that often goes away on its own. However, it is best to see a doctor to rule out other causes for your symptoms. It is crucial to treat serious eye infections as early as possible to prevent damages to eye tissues.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, stop wearing contact lenses and keep in mind that some of these infections can be contagious. Wash your hands often, don’t share items with others, and avoid touching your eyes. Don’t try to self-medicate with eye drops since using eye drops or ointment that isn’t adapted to your condition could make things worse.

These are the seven most common infections that can affect the eyes. Conjunctivitis is by far the most common condition that can affect the eyes, but keep in mind that there are other more serious infections with similar symptoms that require medical treatment.

How To Do Vinyasa Yoga: Tips and Basics

Vinyasa yoga is a style of yoga that focuses on movements and breathing. You might be familiar with basic vinyasa flows such as the cat-cow pose or the sun salutation routine. Here is how you can practice with this style of yoga.

Practicing yoga regularly is associated with several health benefits. Yoga can help develop your flexibility, improve your strength, and tone your muscles. It can also boost your energy levels. If you are looking for a way to get a great cardio workout and lose some weight or just want to have fun, you should add vinyasa yoga to your daily routine.

What Is Vinyasa Yoga?

woman doing yoga

There are different ways to practice yoga. Some approaches focus on breathing, movements, alignments, or meditation. If you are interested in yoga, you should try different styles to keep things new and fresh and figure out which approach you enjoy the most.

Vinyasa yoga is a style that focuses on breathing and the transitions between different poses. You will need to pay attention to your movements and to your flow as you adopt a series of poses.

There are specific breathing techniques you need to follow while practicing this style of yoga. Inhaling or exhaling at the right moment helps you keep up with the flow and perform the right movements.

This style is sometimes called Ashtanga yoga. Some studios offer hot yoga classes, during which you will perform vinyasa flows in a warm environment to sweat more.

This style is ideal if you want to develop flexibility, boost your energy levels, and tone your muscles. It is also a good way to work on your cardio since the pace is faster than during a typical yoga practice. Vinyasa exercise can help you lose weight and develop breathing techniques that apply to a wide range of sports and activities.

Other styles such as Hatha yoga typically require you to hold the poses for longer and might not focus on breathing and transitions as much.

Practicing Vinyasa Yoga As A Beginner

yoga class with the instructor

This style of yoga is very accessible since you can practice flow and movements with positions you are already familiar with. Some vinyasa routines can push you and get your blood pumping, but you can practice at a slow pace to learn how to breathe properly.

Try finding a vinyasa class for beginners in your area so you can learn the basics of your style. Many yoga instructors incorporate some vinyasa routines in their classes even though the main style they teach is Hatha yoga.

It is best to start practicing slowly so you can focus on breathing, movements, and posture. Don’t try to speed up the pace until you have a good grasp on how to achieve smooth transitions between the different poses of a routine.

Practicing different vinyasa routines is interesting because it will help you gain a better understanding of how your body moves and finds balance when adopting different poses. It’s also a fun way to practice yoga and it will improve your flexibility and endurance.

The cat-cow pose is a common vinyasa flow taught to beginners. This exercise requires you to switch between the cat and cow poses.

This is an interesting introduction to breathing techniques used in vinyasa flows. You should inhale as you look up and stretch to adopt the cat pose and exhale as you arch your back and look down to adopt the cow pose.

Practice this simple flow and pay attention to how your breathing helps you transition from one pose to the other. This is a simple flow but understanding how breathing is linked to movement will help you master more complex vinyasa routines.

Getting Into The Flow

yoga position

You can practice different vinyasa flows at home. Make these flows a part of your daily yoga routine to add some variety and make your practices more fun and dynamic. Here are a few tips to help you practice vinyasa flows.

Find The Right Pace

Practicing a vinyasa flow is not about moving from one pose to the next as quickly as possible. The pace is faster when compared to other yoga styles, but you should still take the time to stop and breathe for each pose and pay attention to your movements.

Practice each transition until you can easily move from one pose to the next without overthinking your movements. You will then be able to focus on breathing and finding the right pace.

Learn To Breathe With This Basic Vinyasa Flow

You can start practicing vinyasa routines with this simple flow. This is a flow that is often taught in yoga classes and this is probably what your instructor is referring to if they ever ask you to go through your vinyasa or to do a vinyasa.

Keep these simple rules in mind when going through vinyasa routines. Inhale when you need to lift a part of your body and exhale when you need to shift your body weight. Your instructor should guide you by telling you when to inhale or exhale when teaching more complex flows.

A simple flow you can easily master starts with a plank pose. You will then adopt the chaturanga pose, the upward facing dog pose, and finish the flow with the downward facing dog pose.

Here is how you can perform this vinyasa flow:

  • Start in the plank position. Exhale as you move your body weight down and shift to adopt the chaturanga pose. Focus on moving your shoulders down slowly.
  • Inhale and lift your upper body up to adopt the upward facing dog pose.
  • Hold this pose for a few seconds, and exhale as you shift your body weight and arch your back.
  • Start pushing with your feet to adopt the downward facing dog and finish the flow.

This is a flow you can practice to master breathing techniques and get used to paying attention to your movements, posture, and flow when practicing yoga. These are poses you should be familiar with if you have been practicing for a while.

If you are new to yoga, practice each pose individually before trying to get through this routine.

Add The Sun Salutation Flow To Your Daily Routine

Once you can breathe properly while doing the cat-cow pose and the basic vinyasa flow described above, you can start practicing the sun salutation routine.

This is probably an exercise you are already familiar with but might not know how to breathe properly throughout this flow. The sun salutation routine is a great way to start your day, stretch, and a take a few minutes to relax and focus on your body and breathing.

Here is how you can practice the sun salutation vinyasa flow:

  • Stand up straight and lift your arms above your head to adopt the mountain pose. Inhale as you slowly raise your arms and join your hands above your head as you look up.
  • Bend at the waist as you exhale slowly. Adopt the forward bend or uttanasana pose. Your finger should touch the ground when you are done exhaling.
  • Look up and adjust your hands if needed to adopt a flat back position as you inhale slowly.
  • The next step is the plank pose. You can jump back for a more dynamic flow or simply step back as you exhale. Pay attention to how your body weight shifts as you adopt the plank pose.
  • Exhale as you lower your knees, chest, and chin.
  • Lower your waist and legs and push with your arms to lift your upper body as you inhale. You can either adopt the low cobra pose or the upward facing dog at this point in the sun salutation routine.
  • Exhale as you push back to adopt the downward facing dog pose, just like in the shorter vinyasa flow described above.
  • Exhale and bring your feet forward. You can jump for a more dynamic flow or step forward to adopt the forward bend pose again.
  • Inhale and stand straight up. Exhale and lift your arms above your head to adopt the mountain pose and finish the sun salutation.

Practice this routine until you achieve a natural flow with your movements. Focus on your breathing until you instinctively know when to inhale or exhale in the routine.

You can perform the sun salutation as slowly as you need to. Pick up the pace once you are more comfortable with the flow and don’t have to think about what your next movement should be.

Create New Flows

Make your yoga practices more varied and interesting by creating your vinyasa flows. Practice with the sun salutation flow until breathing becomes natural so you can use these techniques with any flow.

Pick four or five positions you can easily adopt one after the other. You can make a few changes to the traditional sun salutation flow, for instance by beginning with the child’s pose instead of the mountain pose. You can also create an interesting flow by adopting the different warrior poses one after the other.

Vinyasa yoga is a popular approach since it helps you breathing techniques and is a great cardio workout. Get started with some simple flows so you can get used to focusing on your movements and breathing before attempting more complex sequences.

12 Health Benefits Of Pomegranate Juice

Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and essential minerals. You should think about adding this fruit or juice to your diet to reduce your risk of developing plaque, improve blood flow, or manage symptoms of diabetes.

Pomegranate is a fruit rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. This fruit has several health benefits, including preventing plaque buildup, improving blood circulation, and providing you with several important vitamins and nutrients. Pomegranate juice has all the benefits of the fruit and is easier to add to your diet. Here are the main benefits of this juice.

Antioxidant Content

pomegranate

Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols. These plant compounds are powerful antioxidants that can prevent cell damage caused by the free radicals present in your system. It is interesting to note that juice extracted from pomegranates contains three times as much antioxidants as green tea.

Damage from free radicals is what causes the effects of aging. This type of damage has also been linked to cancerous cells appearing and spreading.

Polyphenols help prevent this damage by eliminating free radicals. Studies suggest that polyphenols can help prevent the appearance and growth of prostate cancer.

The antioxidant properties of pomegranates also help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the cause behind conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease that impact cognitive functions.

It is important to add foods rich in antioxidants to your diet since it is difficult to limit your exposure to free radicals. Free radicals are the result of exposure to pollutants while others are generated during exercise or by inflamed tissues.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

A study has found that pomegranate juice could significantly reduce inflammation in subjects who drank it regularly. The antioxidants present in pomegranates help reduce the damage caused by free radicals and prevent inflammation from appearing as a result of cell damage.

This is how pomegranates help reduce oxidative stress on the brain and nervous system. The anti-inflammatory properties of this fruit and juice have beneficial effects on the digestive system as well.

Joint pain is another health condition linked to inflammation. Eating pomegranates or drinking juice should help control inflammation and address symptoms such as pain and swelling besides preventing these symptoms from coming back.

Reducing Plaque

pomegranate

The antioxidant content of pomegranates helps prevent plaque from forming and limit the damage caused by the presence of plaque. A study followed subjects for three years and found a significant difference in plaque buildup between a group that drank pomegranate juice and a group that didn’t.

Plaque buildup can happen in the mouth and inside of arteries. Dental plaque can lead to tooth decay and gum disease if it isn’t cleaned regularly.

Deposits of fat, calcium, and other compounds found in blood can cause plaque to appear in arteries. This causes the arteries to become narrower and restricts blood flow.

Reducing plaque is one of the benefits of pomegranates that has been thoroughly studied and proved to be true. This benefit alone is enough to justify adding this fruit or juice to your diet.

Improve Blood Flow

Pomegranates act as an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor. This enzyme plays an important role in regulating blood pressure and blood flow.

Inhibiting this enzyme dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. This mechanism of action is similar to the way blood pressure medication works. Pomegranate juice could be a natural alternative to a prescription if you need to take medication to regulate blood flow or blood pressure.

Improved blood flow can help with symptoms such as fatigue, improve skin health, and help with fertility as well as digestion.

Cholesterol Levels

pomegranate

More research is needed to prove that pomegranates can help regulate cholesterol levels. However, a study that looked at the different positive effects of this juice found an improvement in cholesterol levels among the subjects.

These results are not conclusive and more research is needed to confirm that there is a correlation between pomegranates and cholesterol levels.

However, the antioxidant properties of pomegranates can help eliminate oxidized LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL cholesterol can cause plaque to build up in arteries among other health issues.

Hormonal Balance

Pomegranates contain a compound known as ellagic acid that acts as an aromatase inhibitor. This means that ellagic acid can limit the production of estrogen.

There are benefits associated with lower estrogen levels since high levels of this hormone have been linked to breast, uterine, and prostate cancer in men. High levels of estrogen can also cause PMS, varicose veins, cysts, bloating, and other health problems.

Adding pomegranates to your diet could help regulate your hormonal levels depending on your current estrogen levels. High estrogen levels are more common than one might think since there are many compounds that are similar to estrogen in growth hormones and pesticides that end up in the food we eat.

Antibacterial And Antifungal Properties

The plant compounds found in pomegranates have antibacterial and antifungal properties. This fruit is also believed to be an effective remedy against the yeast known as Candida albicans.

This fruit or juice could help support the immune system by eliminating some fungi and bacteria. It could also reduce inflammation and bloating in the digestive tract if there is unbalanced gut flora.

Vitamin C And E

Did you know that you could get 30 percent of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C by eating the equivalent of a cup of pomegranate?

Vitamin C plays a crucial role in repairing damaged tissues and cells. It is also used to create new cells and tissues.

Vitamin C is necessary for healthy bone, cartilage, and teeth. This vitamin also helps your body absorb iron.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and helps eliminate free radicals. It supports your immune system and a diet rich in Vitamin C makes you less likely to become ill and helps you recover faster.

Vitamin E is very important for heart health. A diet rich in Vitamin E makes you less likely to develop cancer, supports brain and nervous system health, and limits muscle tissue damage after exercise. Vitamin E is also beneficial for skin health.

Folate Content

pomegranate

You can get 16 percent of your daily recommended folate intake by eating a cup of pomegranate. Folate is a type of Vitamin B that plays a crucial role when new cells are created.

Folate prevents changes to the DNA that can cause cancerous cells to appear and spread. It also plays an important role in the creation of red blood cells.

Pregnant women need to take a folic acid supplement to prevent neural tube defects. Even though pomegranates are rich in folate and can be added to a healthy diet during pregnancy, they won’t replace folic acid supplements.

Potassium Content

A cup of pomegranate contains 12 percent of your daily recommended potassium intake. Potassium is an essential mineral because it regulates fluid levels in your body.

A potassium deficiency can cause you to become dehydrated. Potassium and sodium are the two main electrolytes that maintain a healthy fluid balance in your body. Your potassium levels impact the quantities of fluid inside of your cells.

If your potassium and sodium levels are not balanced, dehydration can occur. Frequent dehydration can cause kidney stones and other health problems.

Potassium is also beneficial for nervous system health, heart health, and for your muscle tissues.

Vitamin K

You can get 36 percent of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin K in a cup of pomegranate. Vitamin K plays a major role in helping blood clot. It helps balance the calcium levels in your blood, which reduces the risks of plaque developing and supports bone health.

Vitamin K is primarily found in green leafy vegetables. If your diet isn’t rich enough in this type of vegetables, pomegranates could be an excellent alternative.

Pomegranate Juice And Diabetes

Different studies have looked at the benefits of this juice for diabetics. A study found that consuming juice extracted from pomegranates had positive effects on heart health and cholesterol levels among diabetic subjects.

It is believed that pomegranates limit the absorption of unhealthy LDL cholesterol by the digestive system. It lowers the risk of plaque forming in arteries, which is a potential complication of diabetes and improves energy levels without causing blood sugar levels to spike.

It is also believed that pomegranates could help improve insulin resistance, which is what causes blood sugar levels to increase. Pomegranates could help manage the symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes, but more studies are needed to confirm that this fruit can help with insulin resistance.

We already mentioned that pomegranates had a positive effect on blood flow. Poor circulation is one of the possible complications of diabetes, which is why these fruits are an excellent choice for diabetics.

Keep in mind that fruits and juice with no added ingredients can help with the symptoms of diabetes. However, store-bought fruit juices often have added sugar and can have a negative impact on blood sugar levels.

Pomegranates, like any other fruits, contain fructose. Fructose is easier to process than other types of sugar, which is why it typically doesn’t cause sharp increases in blood sugar levels. However, fruits should be eaten in moderation and balanced with other foods if you are managing a condition like diabetes.